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Microsoft Wins Windows XP WGA Lawsuit

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the patch-this dept.

Microsoft 307

Rish writes "A lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers to download and install an update for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) under the guise that it was critical security update has been tossed out. Last month, a federal judge refused to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which would have meant anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 could join the case without having to hire an attorney, and on Friday the same judge dismissed the case completely."

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307 comments

No good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085362)

I work in computer repair, and the worst part of WGA is that after doing a repair, sometimes a customer will get that update and the customer will get confused and click cancel or that they decline. This automatically tells them that their software is not genuine.

Microsoft knows how to carefully word their alert to make sure they understand that it could be caused by counterfeit software, but does not even suggest that this alert could be because they just haven't yet validated, or they need to activate.

I used to get angry calls because customers thought I was providing them stolen software. So then I decided I'd make their copies of windows genuine for my customers before they leave. But that's when the pirates come out of the wood work! What do you do when a copy won't validate? Well now you've got a customer who thinks you've stolen their software right off the bat due to the non-genuine alerts you just caused.

It's lose/lose for the pc repair industry- and it's win/win. How many frightened people have gone to staples and picked up a new copy to avoid getting in legal trouble? I know a few...

Re:No good (3, Informative)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085404)

I've had my PC repaired and my windows copy invalidated because the motherboard was replaced. The solution: Call microsoft. They fixed it without any questions. No biggie. The "repair industry" really should know this trick, if they're worth their salt.

Re:No good (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085480)

OP here, it's invalid product keys that won't validate. Believe it or not, those VLKs do exist and are used by hobbyist pc people to build their moms, uncles, and other relatives computers. The moms, uncles and relatives blame us, despite the fact that it was their hobbyist relative that really committed the crime.

And, yes, calling microsoft does give you an option there. Buy a genuine copy for a reduced price.

Anybody in the repair industry worth their salt knows there's more than one way to be invalidated by WGA.

Re:No good (3, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085546)

That is a corner I would not like to be put into.
You can explain the situation all you want to the people, but there are people who always side with the family.
Best I could do with that is "okay, give me the Windows CD and the key it comes with and Ill fix it", when they cant produce it, they shut up.

Re:No good (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085662)

Then refuse to repair people's computers if they have invalid keys. Or request their Windows CD when they take it to the shop. There are about a hundred ways around this. Personally I just tell them that unless they bring me a valid Windows license, or find their own cracked WGA, I won't install it for them. And if they choose the latter, I'm not recracking the computer if validation suddenly starts failing because their crack stopped working.

Re:No good (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085782)

It can be difficult to know when a computer will fail validation, even when using a VLK. Sometimes the key is valid and passes. I won't know until after the repair (which may be a reinstall of windows).

Either way, I can't turn down everybody who lost their disc or can't find their product key (we can get it out of the registry if it's not on a sticker). I'd go out of business. It's a tricky line, and I'm pretty certain I've found an equilibrium, it's just annoying that MS gets away with this crap. I was just trying to demonstrate the effect it had on repair companies and MS customers.

Re:No good (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085820)

Then refuse to repair people's computers if they have invalid keys. Or request their Windows CD when they take it to the shop. There are about a hundred ways around this.

Yeah, 100 ways to fold your business.

Re:No good (-1, Troll)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086340)

You can also repair the computers by installing software that's free, technically superior and reasonably more secure than Windows.

You can download yours from: http://www.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com] http://www.debian.org/ [debian.org] http://freebsd.org/ [freebsd.org] and so on.

Re:No good (2)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085670)

You should throw that right down in front when the computer is brought in and explain the consequences (No windows update or whatever the hell it may be, i can't keep track) and if possible validate the key right then so they can see it for themselves.

Regarding your OP, maybe print a flyer with instructions on how to proceed through the validate/activate warnings when WGA eventually shows up, and what it all acutally means? I suspect most of your customers don't really give a shit about stolen software (after all they let their cousin put together a PC without actually purchasing a copy of windows or office) they're just worried about getting in trouble.

Re:No good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085812)

These days it's really ass backwards not to have a legal copy of XP. XP Pro can be had on eBay for ~$40 per copy. If that's so hard, then maybe you can't really afford the PC that you have...

Re:No good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086140)

Bleh... Just turn off updates. Problem solved. With or without them, your machine will probably get rooted anyway because you just can't stay away from the virus ridden porn sites. The internet's version of a gay bath house.

And fuck eBay...and all their affiliates..

Re:No good (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086374)

On the other hand buying off eBay is the quickest way to get yourself some counterfeit goods.

Re:No good (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086484)

Why have a legal copy when I can get a working good copy without the extra crap for free? I bought WinXP with my computer, but the cracked copies with all SPs installed are better products.

Re:Pirates (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085686)

Any decent PC tech knows which file to delete to remove the nag screen. Get rid of the nag and let them reinstall WGA next month.

You're there to fix the PC, not to enter into a legal battle.

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085730)

I know how to do it on my own pc, but we do not provide cracking services to our customers. It might work for some fly by night company, but we don't suggest any such operation.

Re:Pirates (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086596)

You're not cracking it, you're hiding the nag for a few weeks. Even Microsoft gives you 30 days grace period.

Re:Pirates (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086680)

You must be confused. We're talking about the WGA nag screen, not the activation one. The WGA countdown that happens before you can log into your system? The only way I know to get rid of that is to use a bit of a registry hack (which is provided below), and there's a good reason MS has issued takedown notices to other sites that host that information.

Re:No good (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085826)

Well, that ain't necessarily what the GP is talking about.

If you buy an OEM copy of Windows and your PC dies, can you pop the hard disk out and put it into a new PC? No. The OEM license only allows you to install that copy onto one machine *ever*.

The problem with hobbyists is that they upgrade their machines. Windows looks at the configuration of the machine, and if it has been upgraded too much, it makes you call Microsoft and explain what you are doing. Change enough things (memory, hard disk, CPU) and theoretically Microsoft can tell you to take a hike.

Technically, replacing the motherboard in your machine invalidates your OEM license. Even if you replace it with a mobo that is identical in every respect, you are supposed to buy another license. That's why OEM licenses cost so much less than retail licenses, which you can transfer between machines. Under the circumstances, given that GP's mobo died, they're cutting him some slack, but they'd be within their rights to tell him to buy a whole new license. I've been in the exact same situation, and they cut me some slack too.

Now I don't *like* that situation, but that's what Microsoft's OEM license *is*. That's why I don't buy Windows for installing on my machines. I take the hard disk out and set it aside in case I ever need to use Windows, then I put a new hard disk in with Linux. If I *were* to buy Windows, I'd spend the extra dough for a retail license rather than OEM. I know folks think they're entitled to get around OEM licensing restrictions, but I don't agree with that. If you buy an OEM license, you ought to know what you are getting yourself into.

Re:No good (3, Informative)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086164)

Totally agreed, OEM users have chosen this pain, even if they haven't realized what they were choosing. That said, the core issue here is that WGA is not a critical security update by any stretch of the imagination. From my limited reading about this suit, its class action status (and the suit itself) sound completely valid to me. Nothing against Microsoft generally, but this was misleading. WGA is a lame excuse for copy protection, not a means for the end user to secure their data, and not a critical patch for anyone - even Microsoft.

Re:No good (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086320)

Microsoft allows replacement of a motherboard for repair. I replaced my board a couple years back and got the validation problem. I called Microsoft about it and they fixed it without selling me a new license.

The big problem they had was not with hobbyists upgrading motherboards, but with counterfeit operations selling thousands of copies of Windows to shops around the world. Occasionally, I'm sure somebody at Microsoft loses sight of this, but for the most part, if you have the guts to pick up the phone and assert that your single, lowly copy of Windows is legit, they're happy to fix it.

Re:No good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085844)

OP here, it's invalid product keys that won't validate. Believe it or not, those VLKs do exist and are used by hobbyist pc people to build their moms, uncles, and other relatives computers. The moms, uncles and relatives blame us, despite the fact that it was their hobbyist relative that really committed the crime.

And, yes, calling microsoft does give you an option there. Buy a genuine copy for a reduced price.

Which is really funny, because that's the only way for a regular consumer to purchase a legitimate copy of XP today.

It's kind of sad that the only way Microsoft will sell you a copy of XP is by forcing you to pirate it first.

(yes, I'm aware that you can still get XP through MSDN, Software Assurance & volume licensing but the regular end-user doesn't have access to those)

Re:No good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086358)

it's invalid product keys that won't validate

That makes sense.

Re:No good (5, Informative)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085582)

Or crack it.

Import this key at every system restart. (saved as c:\windows\system32\reg.key, it would be regedit /a reg.key located in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Run)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents]
"OOBETimer"=hex:ff,d5,71,d6,8b,6a,8d,6f,d5,33,93,fd
"LastWPAEventLogged"=hex:d5,07,05,00,06,00,07,00,0f,00,38,00,24,00,fd,02

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]
"CurrentBuild"="1.511.1 () (Obsolete data - do not use)"
"InstallDate"=dword:427cdd95 "ProductId"="69831-640-1780577-45389" "DigitalProductId"=hex:a4,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,36,39,38,33,31,2d,36,34,30,2d,\

31,37,38,30,35,37,37,2d,34,35,33,38,39,00,5a,00,00,00,41,32,32,2d,30,30,30,\

30,31,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,0d,04,89,b2,15,1b,c4,ee,62,4f,e6,64,6f,01,00,\

00,00,00,00,27,ed,85,43,a2,20,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\

00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,31,34,35,30,34,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,ce,0e,\

00,00,12,42,15,a0,00,08,00,00,87,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\

00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,94,a2,b3,ac
"LicenseInfo"=hex:9e,bf,09,d0,3a,76,a5,27,bb,f2,da,88,58,ce,58,e9,05,6b,0b,82,\

c3,74,ab,42,0d,fb,ee,c3,ea,57,d0,9d,67,a5,3d,6e,42,0d,60,c0,1a,70,24,46,16,\ 0a,0a,ce,0d,b8,27,4a,46,53,f3,17


+ Anti WPA 3.46

= Away you go

Re:No good (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085930)

Is there a way to auto-import the key?

I've had a copy of windows that I bought earlier in the decade, and transferred it from machine, to machine, to machine as I either upgraded hardware or replaced dead components. The old machines were gifted to friends/family with a linux installation.

This last time, I messed up something and got the WGA notification. (Maybe it didn't like that I had it on 10 machines, even though only one at a time) I can't really use linux on this machine, I just don't have the time to tinker like I used to, so I've been using the registry key hack to fix it. It is just damned annoying to have to do it every time windows restarts.

I could probably call Microsoft, but I'm mostly just pissed about the whole situation. Of course the irony is I just moved to a new house and in the course of packing, I found the original install disk hidden in my office supplies.

Re:No good (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086480)

1. Go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Run

2. Enter in a new DWORD value. Call it whatever you like to.

3. Enter in this value: regedit /s c:\windows\system32\reg.key

4. Done. Restart machine for changes to take effect.

Re:No good (4, Funny)

treuf (99331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085974)

/me waits for a DCMA takedown notice to fly from Redmond to Slashdot's headquarter :D

Re:No good (3, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086438)

/me waits for a DCMA takedown notice to fly from Redmond to Slashdot's headquarter :D

Too late. Already copy-pasted to a local file on my hard disk, and ready to appear on my website once it goes down from Slashdot. Website hosted outside of the US of course.

And probably hundreds of other Slashdotters living in the free world have done exactly the same.

Re:No good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086072)

Typical Slashdotter. Copyrights and licenses should not be respected, unless it's the almighty GPL.

Re:No good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086326)

Typical AC. Shilling for Microsoft again... Fuck your copyrights and licenses!

Re:No good (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085840)

That does not always work. I replaced the motherboard on my GF's PC and reinstalled Windows. WGA would not activate. She spent about an hour on the phone trying to get a human at Microsoft. When she finally did, she was told that there was nothing they could do.

This was a retail copy of XP that she paid over $100 for. Microsoft has her $100, she has no OS. Those of you who like to compare piracy to theft, this is what real theft looks like.

I did put her on Ubuntu for quite a while, until she decided that she couldn't live without Freehand MX (which has some problems under wine). So we pirated XP. Seems fair to me.

Re:No good (1)

foldingstock (945985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086606)

If it took you an hour to reach a person from Microsoft's support center, you were either doing something terribly wrong or you have awful luck. Last time I had to call Microsoft to activate XP (mid December of 2009) it took about 10 minutes to navigate the call menu and get a person, and another 5-10 minutes to actually get XP activated. I have never had a Microsoft technician tell me, "there is nothing we can do." I am not calling you a liar, but that sounds fishy to me.

Regardless, owning a piece of software doesn't make it legal to pirate another copy. This is a warped sense of justice. If you buy a DVD player for $100 and get one year of use out of it before it breaks, it is not "ok" to go and steal another DVD player of the same make/model. Anyone that thinks that is fair should re-evaluate their views on right/wrong. If the DVD player was cheaply made, perhaps you should have done more research before shelling out the $100.

Re:No good (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086098)

I agree. MS has always revalidated my version of windows after I have to do a reinstall. No biggie. Just like it was no biggie for me to ask my parents if I could borrow the car each and every time I needed it. Just like it is no biggie for to ask the line supervisor everytime I need to go the bathroom.

WGA may serve the purpose of keeping unlicensed copies of MS Windows off the average machine. I question what use that is, since such unlicensed copies only increase perceived market share of MS, and directly increases their power. At a corporate level, WGA increase the real and opportunity costs. Instead of getting work done, people are fretting over WGA.

Re:No good (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086590)

We do, it's a pain in the ass doing it over and over in a shop but you're right, the process is normally painless as a one time deal. We DID have times when swapping a mobo and doing a reinstall screwed us because the bios sig on the new mobo did not work with the OEM reinstall disk. At that point MS would tell us that the license was valid for one piece of hardware and could not be installed on another "system"...

Re:No good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085716)

If you know a few, those people are morons.

Ever since XP and WGA were around, whenever you upgraded a hard drive (sometimes) or system board (a lot more often), you'd have to revalidate the OS. Sometimes that would require activating over the phone. OMG. a Phone call!

More power to MS. If people don't like it, they can use Linux ;)

Re:No good (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085864)

I have to agree a million times with you here, they way that windows validates their genuine advantage, is a farse.
Someone can brute force the key, and guess what, that key gets blacklisted if used enough times to validate, well, low and behold if it was your key that was guessed, your sh*t out of luck. I have many times in the past used the sticker to call in and say hey, I got this sticker on the side of my machine saying its valid, and now you have blocked that key, what gives, they then give you a new key, or so it used to be like that.

Recently I had to call in to activate my windows, and the phone operator you used to be able to get, is no longer available, or maybe switched, but I could not after 4 tries(different phone calls, with the whole slew of choices), find a real operator to explain the problem...luckily I was able to recover a key from another version, but in the mean time, had I had not had that key, I would have been stuck going around in circles with no real help for my now supposedly illegal copy.

All things considered, I will never upgrade past windowsxp, (knock on wood) as I truly believe that M$ is the devil, and I have far too much invested on my machines to switch to linux, I program in vb.net for a company, so I can not just simply change as the wine .net framework is not up to par for real programming....but I dream of the day I will be free of this monster.

Being also a part time computer tech with a few clients that depend on me to be up to date in windows and also have some copies of windows lying around, I have found that it is easier for me to partition their drives and teach them to keep their files on the separate partition or another drive, and also I image their disk every so often, especially when they are too cheap to buy an AV and get stung repeatedly, I do not complain, I charge 40$ an hour....I have an image that is replaceable within minutes of them calling me and me picking up their pc, and also this just costs me usually the 20gb of HDD space (or so) for each client, so I tend to have image backups on my external drives for when they come calling. This also avoids redoing any windows BS that i hate with a passion, like downloading updates and patches..i have all of those in service packs.

Re:No good (0, Offtopic)

RCGodward (1235102) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086458)

If you "truly belive that M$ is the devil" then perhaps you should not further their position of power by programming in VB.NET? If you really want to "be free of this monster" then using their proprietary platform is not the way to go. Might I suggest Python? Also, if you're trying to use Wine for .NET you're doing something wrong. Mono FTW.

Re:No good (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086136)

Couldn't you just tell them that they may need to validate/activate their copy? You should probably stick a note to the case telling them exactly what to do, and what will happen if it is an illegal copy - then it's completely up to them.

I can't really believe you haven't thought of that yourself, so what is the problem with that approach?

Re:No good (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086316)

That's easy. do what Microsoft suggests. if after updaing a customers PC will not validate and says it's "pirated" you tell the customer that Microsoft knows they have an illegal copy of windows and they need to buy a legit copy right away.

If they disagree, you say, I am bound by microsoft to report this, but I will look the other way for you just this one time.

You come out looking like a good guy, and it shuts them down and points them at little cousin johnny that gave them the copy of XP.

Good. There *should* be consequences for using MS. (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085432)

If you don't like the "we can do anything we want to you at any time" EULA, then the solution is to switch to and support a different OS, not to bitch and moan about the EULA that you chose to accept.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085558)

Yes. Because we all know that corporations should be able to put whatever egregious language they want in their contracts and mere citizens should just bend over and take it.

Fortunately, real contract law doesn't work that way.

Although I am sure that corporate boot-lickers such as yourself will do their best to erode what consumer rights and protections do exist.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1, Insightful)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085808)

"citizens should just bend over and take it."

No one is shoving the operating system down your throat, if you don't like the EULA, as mentioned above, switch to an alternative OS. The corporations can only put in "whatever egregious language they want" if you (and a bunch of others) fork over money to them. Stop giving them money, and you'll see how quickly their EULA changes...

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (2, Interesting)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085906)

I haven't given MS money in ages. Their EULA hasn't changed yet. Perhaps it's because millions of people are too apathetic to care since the EULA is rarely enforced in a fashion most people would notice or would care about.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086546)

And hell, even if you buy a PC to install Linux on it you may end up with an OEM copy of Windows on it anyway.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085914)

You don't have the right to run a copy of Windows you don't own you stupid faggot.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085626)

Obviously you haven't heard of less legitimate OEM providers who use cracked versions of XP Retail, all installing the same key, and using the crack I listed above. (or a variant thereof)

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086472)

Don't buy your computers in Tiajuana or from the grungy back room of some porno shop.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086502)

Or from budget local shops, or from your local home assembler.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085742)

not to bitch and moan about the EULA that you chose to accept.

I didn't choose to accept the EULA and am not bound by it. Under UK law you
cannot impose terms or conditions after the point of sale.

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086202)

all the terms and conditions that they are imposing were in the original EULA that you accepted when you purchased the product. nothing has changed since the time the product was sold to you.

Good. There *should* be consequences for living. (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085816)

As in "If you don't like the "we can do anything we want to you at any time" flight security/other anti-terrorist/anti-pedophile regulations, then the solution is to move and support a different government, not to bitch and moan about the laws that you chose to accept", right?

Sometimes evil should be clearly defined evil, for the real improvements to start. I use Linux myself, but I often see what pain in the rear some MS "solutions" can be. EULA or not, there's some common sense and human dignity left in "common users" after all, or not?

Re:Good. There *should* be consequences for using (4, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086392)

I agree, to a point. However, I don't believe all of the "we can change everything we want to" was in the original Windows XP EULA. It got added in with the various service packs, etc, that were included in the purchase price of the original software. So the only EULA I feel I "chose to accept" original one on my XP CD. I was coerced into agreeing to the others in order to get updates that I was told I already had the right to. I'd agree with you fully if I had had the opportunity to accept or deny the new EULA in return for something new.

Oblig. car analogy: "Now that you've had your car for 5 years and it's paid for, we've decided to reduce your 10-year warranty to a 5-year warranty, which has now just expired. If you want your 10-year warranty back, you have to allow us to install this box that monitors to make sure the car hasn't been loaned to anyone else without our consent, and if we think it has we can deny you warranty service, and the "Check Engine" light will light up every time you start the car and warn you that your car is no longer genuine."

But, you're right - Microsoft does business the way they do business, and it's pretty clear that they are unapologetic about these sorts of one-sided contract changes. They've got you by the short-and-curlies, and that's just the sort of behavior they are known for now.

I also agree with your solution. I switched to Linux Mint, largely in response to the underhanded tactics that crammed WGA on my computer without my knowledge or consent. It took a while to migrate everything I do over to Linux, but it's done now, and I can happily say that my household is now 100% Microsoft-free.

"RIP one Microsoft Customer, starting with MS-DOS 3.0, ending with Windows XP+WGA".

I'm also only one customer, and I fully realize that Microsoft doesn't give a flying shit about my stance. It's OK, the feeling is now happily mutual.

MAGGOTS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085436)

Imagine what the world would be without MAGGOTS (Microsoft, Apple, GooGle, Oracle, T-mobile, Sun).

Irrelevant (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085478)

Ah, I see. Microsoft has bribed the judges. That was probably a good idea. Seems affective.

@CmdrTaco That comment has nothing to do with this article.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086030)

Affective?

Re:Irrelevant (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086146)

Ah, I see. Microsoft has bribed the judges. That was probably a good idea. Seems affective.

Yeah, I have also heard that Microsoft and the Judges have an emotional relationship going on.

They may have won in the courts.... (1, Interesting)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085798)

....but they have lost this customer. WGA was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to Mac and will never look back. Thanks for the helping hand Microsoft, I'm much happier now.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085876)

You were so upset by WGA that you decided to do business with Super-Lockdown-Incorporated? Really?

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086178)

Their lockdown comes with a prettier UI and a bigger price tag, so you know it's a quality shafting you're getting!

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086260)

Swings and roundabouts. They put a lot of effort into tying the hardware and OS, but then largely trust their customers to do the right thing after that.

I guess they reckon that it pays to not treat their paying customers like thieves and liars. Case in point, a workmate just bought a new MiniMax external drive for his Mac from the Apple Store. When it was delivered, he opened it up and found a few small smudges marks on the case that indicated it was a refurb. He called up the local store, and within minutes, they had apologised profusely, dispatched a new box, and booked a courier to collect his refurb, and asked him if there was anything else they could do for him (and meant it).

I know that's not strictly relevant to licensing, but it illustrates that once Apple have your money, they don't feel that it gives them free reign to ass-pound you when you have an issue. Contrast that with MS who once tried to bill me for "support" when I took the time to report a bug in their msvc compiler, for their benefit.

See, this is why I come here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086296)

You were so upset by WGA that you decided to do business with Super-Lockdown-Incorporated? Really?

Posts like these are what's great about Slashdot. You read the opinions here, and you get a really good understanding of how real people feel about things.

Reading the mainstream tech sites, you'd think that customers loved Apple's products. That people were lining up to buy Apple's crap, that its customers were loyal and highly satisfied, that Apple was making tons of money, and that its products Just Worked the way people wanted them to.

Here on Slashdot, we learn the ugly truth. Apple's products don't let you do anything. Its customers must be horribly dissatisfied, and nobody ever makes the mistake of doing business with Apple twice.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (5, Informative)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086306)

If you were talking about iPhone OS, you might have a rational argument, and would have earned your moderation.

But I thought we were talking about an operating system for a general-purpose computer. Contrasting Mac OS X with any post- W2K Microsoft OS:

- I've never had to enter an 'activation' key to install it.
- I've never had to worry if it's going to turn on me and accuse me of using a 'counterfeit' version of it.
- I've never had to call Apple and ask, "Pretty please, is it okay to have my computer back?"

I think you're a little bit confused as to "Super-Lockdown-Incorporated" really is.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (5, Informative)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086394)

You're missing the forest for the trees. Mac OS never asks for validation at any stage of installation. Just put your disc in, install, reboot. That's it. Change your hardware, no need to validate. Ever. Starting with Mac OS v.10.5, upgrade discs no longer checked to see if you had an older version already installed.

Lockdown!=Lockout

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (2, Insightful)

aflag (941367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085878)

Except that apple is probably much worse than MS when it comes to DRM. You can't even save certain files on iphone, or so I've heard.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085956)

So you moved from pirating Microsoft products to purchasing Apple products when they developed the techno.ogy to stop you, and consider yourself a dissatisfied microsoft "customer". Bless.

Way to go you!! stick it to the man yeah!!

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (1)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086636)

Not at all. I went from being a paying Microsoft customer that was treated like a criminal to a happy Mac user that doesn't even need to input a serial number much less have my system inspected by WGA. Voting with my wallet.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085972)

whats the difference, now you have steve watching every single thing you do on his computer, you will pay 130$ for service packs, and good luck getting parts or repair on that mac (which has a very high chance of failure within the first year)

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (2, Interesting)

Starmac (544848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086232)

now you have steve watching every single thing you do on his computer, you will pay 130$ for service packs, and good luck getting parts or repair on that mac (which has a very high chance of failure within the first year)

Try using Apple HW instead of just bashing it. There are a lot of MB/MBP out there running MS crap because they are so reliable, and actually run software without machinations. Rating a new version of an OS as a service pack is ludicrous. Maybe you ought to actually use a permissions based OS before you run your keys the next time

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (5, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085978)

I has a similar situation.

The patriot act was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (3, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086172)

WGA was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to Mac and will never look back.

I has a similar situation.

The patriot act was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

Best. Analogy. Ever.
Comparing Apple's control over their platform to North Korea.

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086396)

I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

Because of the potential eye-gouging if you do?

Re:They may have won in the courts.... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086332)

"Thanks for the helping hand Microsoft, I'm much happier now."

Yes, you sound it too!

What's in a name ... (-1, Offtopic)

SpockLogic (1256972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31085920)

I'm glad they changed the name from Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) to (The) Windows Activation Technologies (TWAT).

My friend bought "legitimate" CD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31085934)

Something to consider with "legitimate" cds. I know a woman who bought what she thought a legitimate license for Office. It had the hologram and the key and everything. Anyway, after the Genuine advantage got slipped in, her Office software was flagged as being stolen. She calls MS, tells them that she has the CD, the key, and the hologram. MS tells her that it's a site license sold to some big corp and she has no business with it.

She explains that she bought it online from a retailer who by the way sold it at a HUGE discount from other retailers. The retailer is no longer in business. She has receipts and everything. MS just told her that it's her problem and she's outta luck.

Yeah, I tried to convince her to switch to OO, but according to her, it's incompatible with her employer (big publisher) and she must use MS Office.

Re:My friend bought "legitimate" CD (2, Informative)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086054)

It was probably a license-less disc normally bought by volume license holders bundled with a stolen volume licensing key which ended up blacklisted.

Re:My friend bought "legitimate" CD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086188)

If you buy a stolen TV and the police show up to take it, it is also your problem, even if you have a receipt. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Re:My friend bought "legitimate" CD (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086252)

If the employer requires specific software, I think it is reasonable that they also provide it. I think it is reasonable that they also provide it. Goes with the whole package of desk, chair, computer, and all that. Of course, that doesn't necessarily extend to outside the office, but you could negotiate about that.

Enterprise Office Home Use For $10 (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086500)

Yeah, I tried to convince her to switch to OO, but according to her, it's incompatible with her employer (big publisher) and she must use MS Office.

If she has a corporate e-mail address chances are good her employer participates in Microsoft's Home Use Program. [microsoft.com]

Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 is hers for ten bucks. Microsoft Home Use Program [microsofthup.com]

Re:My friend bought "legitimate" CD (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086542)

Yeah, I tried to convince her to switch to OO, but according to her, it's incompatible with her employer (big publisher) and she must use MS Office.

Enjoy this great excuse to stop working from home!

Re:My friend bought "legitimate" CD (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086628)

Well yeah, it is her problem.

She has to take it up with the retailer, they sold her dodgy goods. This is the same with any product, if you buy an item that is not legitimate then you wont get support from the producer, you have to deal with it through your retailer.

If your retailer has dissapeared, you can file a fraud complain with the police because they sold you an illegal copy as a legal copy and it is up to the police to track down the people involved.

This should have been thrown out .... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086064)

I hate WGA as much as the next guy, but trying to file a class-action suit against Microsoft because they decided to push out an update for their OS that they deemed "critical" but some users didn't? It seems to me that Microsoft is the one who gets to choose which category they place their updates in, and a "Critical Update" like WGA authentication might seem a lot more critical to MS than to their customers....

As many people already posted here -- if you dislike the way their OS handles things, maybe it's time to consider alternatives? By now, I'm pretty sure the folks in Redmond are well aware of the complaints people have with their products. The fact they've progressively added MORE technology to verify you're a legal owner of their software instead of *removing* it makes it clear they don't care about that complaint!

Say what you will about Apple and OS X, but ever since I migrated over to it, I haven't had a single headache with "product activation" or invalid CD keys.....

Re:This should have been thrown out .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086508)

I second that, plus my asus eeepc runs linux with zero problems for years now...

WGA was fantastic for the malware industry. (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086228)

The minor problems upgrading, or incorrectly triggering WGA are nothing compared to the harm done by Microsoft in denying security patches. Years of propagated malware and vast monetary damage to other Windows owners simply to force a few people to buy new copies of their products. For that reason alone I feel a class action suit is justified.

Worlds stupidst program (0, Troll)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086256)

What other OS requires you download a program to tell if the OS is genuine? The answer, only an insecure company who own a monopoly.

Those with the Gold... (2, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086274)

...make the rules. Do as I say, not as I do. It's the same in every authoritarian government, whether it be a superpower, a multinational corporation, or just the family next door.

Sloppy reporting by Ars (5, Informative)

xymog (59935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31086282)

Ars Technica left out a whole bunch of information. The plaintiffs didn't agree to dismissal because the suit was bogus. Plaintiff's' attorneys had a poorly-drafted complaint to start with, spent four years adding and dropping plaintiffs trying to find ones that had actually been "injured", and four years amending the complaint with ever-more-vague claims against Microsoft. This is all part of the public record and anyone can take a look at it. Moral: If you're going to be all mad about something, do your homework first before charging off and filing a lawsuit.

This is OUTRAGEOUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31086562)

/. knows that they are guilty!
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